Special Collections and Archives blog

December 30, 2021
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on Old Rock Day

Old Rock Day

January 7th has been designated “Old Rock Day.”  A day to celebrate geology, fossils and geologists around the world.  We would like to honor two of our favorite ‘rock stars,” Peter Huntoon and George Billingsley who both have collections housed in Cline Library’s Special Collections and Archives.   As graduate students in 1970, these two giants of geology came together with six other geologists to complete an assignment funded by the Museum of Northern Arizona, the Grand Canyon Natural History Association and the Grand Canyon National Park to create the first complete geological map of the eastern portion of the Grand Canyon, known today as the “Blue Dragon.”  This enormous undertaking took 4.5 years of fieldwork and 1.5 years of production time which led to the highest selling edition of any map in history with all proceeds from it and the 3 subsequent editions going to the Museum of Northern Arizona and the Grand Canyon Natural History Association.

The Blue Dragon Map

To learn more about the story of how the numerous geologists and organizations came together to complete this enormous project, take a look at the lecture, The Making of the Blue Dragon given by Peter Huntoon and George Billingsley as part of the Grand Canyon National Park, Centennial Perspectives lecture series in June of 2019.

The 2019 lecture announcement

After completing the map of eastern portion of the Grand Canyon, there was still more work to do for these two ambitious scientists. Next, they completed mapping of the west half of the Grand Canyon  and were later contracted to produce geological maps of Canyonlands and Capital Reef National Parks in Utah.

The Finns in Canyonlands National Park

George later made it his mission to map the surrounding areas outside of the Grand Canyon. Digital versions of trip logs, fieldnotes, photographs and oral histories about his work and life can be found here in SCA’s digital collections or you can view the finding guide for The George Billingsley papers  to see the collection holdings (digitized and non-digitized material).   Throughout his career with the United States Geologic Survey, George published 77 maps, multiple articles, a book, and helped train the crew of the Apollo 16 space crew.

Two USGS geologists in space suits conduct a simulated lunar surface mission at the Cinder Lake crater field east of Flagstaff NAU.PH.426.467

Peter Huntoon’s collection  includes documents from his professional activities and research involved in mapping numerous areas of the Colorado Plateau, such as  geological research files, a research library, aerial and non-aerial photographs, and draft and published maps.

As we celebrate “Old Rock” day, we celebrate the accomplishments and the contributions of two of our favorite “old rock” researchers.

December 30, 2021
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on The Protocols for Native American Archival Materials

The Protocols for Native American Archival Materials

Did you know that the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials were drafted right here at Cline Library?

This Native American Heritage Month we would like to highlight some of the important work that we have been doing to implement the Protocols, as well as the work we have been doing to share our experience and lessons learned with others in the profession.

In April 2006, Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff, Arizona hosted a gathering of Native American and non-Native American cultural heritage professionals who together drafted the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials, a professional best practices document which outlined guidelines for culturally responsive care of Native American archival materials held by non-tribal institutions. NAU’s Cline Library and Special Collections and Archives formally endorsed the Protocols in 2006. Since then, the staff members of Cline Library Special Collections and Archives (SCA) have sought to integrate the guidance put forth by the Protocols into all aspects of their work, including collection development, collections management, and archival arrangement and description.

In 2019, SCA’s newly hired Archivist for Discovery, Sam(antha) Meier, began revising the department’s draft Arrangement and Description Policy to address issues common to academic archives and special collections, such as an extensive and growing backlog of unprocessed materials and outdated and inaccurate legacy description. Supported by colleagues at Arizona State University, she began to explore the possibility of using ArchivesSpace to more rapidly gain collection-level control over new acquisitions, update existing legacy finding aids, and transition the department’s EAD finding aids hosted in Arizona Archives Online from EAD 2002 to EAD3. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Meier collaborated with Library Assistant Manager Cindy Summers to begin a holistic review of SCA’s legacy finding aids to prepare for their eventual ingest into ArchivesSpace for revision and correction. Meier and Summers found ways to continue this critical work remotely, as neither were initially working in Cline Library.

Cognizant of the need to implement the Protocols at every step in archival processing, including re-description, re-arrangement, and re-processing, in the winter of 2020 Meier and Summers developed a fully remote paid graduate internship, the Archival Description Internship, intended to support an MLIS student at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. The internship was designed to function as a “pilot project” for the department, allowing Meier and Summers to explore how to apply the Protocols to their legacy finding aids along with intern Liz Garcia.

In April, 2021 Sam, Cindy and Liz presented an ArchivesSpace webinar reflecting on their experiences early in this multi-year project.  Below are links to the webinar and to the slides that were presented.

Using ArchivesSpace  to apply the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials

Slides from the webinar

This September the project was featured in a blogpost series presented by the Description Section of the Society of American Archivists.  Below is a link to it:

Leaving Legacies: Re-mote Re-Description at Cline Library’s Special Collections and Archives

Our work will continue and we plan to provide periodic updates, right here.  So, stay tuned.

September 21, 2021
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on What’s new in SCA? A LOT!

What’s new in SCA? A LOT!

Back in April, 2021 the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced 225 award recipients who will be receiving $24 million in funding this grant cycle.  NAU’s Cline Library Special Collections and Archives was honored to be one of those recipients.  We will receive $350,000 over a three-year period to digitize 400 rare and aging films; ours and others belonging to our cultural heritage partners, the Hopi Tribe, the Hualapai Tribe, and Diné College on the Navajo Nation.  These films will give us a glimpse of life in the American southwest of the Colorado Plateau in from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Our work began by ordering the technology that will be used to create the digital conversions and posting positions for a student intern and a project archivist.  The project archivist hiring committee is diligently reviewing applications and preparing to interview candidates, the student intern, Olivia “Liv” Hall has been hired and is beginning to learn about the NAU films that will be converted and the people who created them.  For this installment of our periodic NEH grant films project update, we’d like to introduce you to Liv.

Liv in the vault
Liv looking at films in the vault

Liv is a freshman at NAU who aspires to teach secondary history education.  She’s known from a young age that she would one day be a teacher, but the level changed each year as her own grade level changed.  It wasn’t until she began taking history classes and was taught by some incredible history teachers that she fell in love with history and her plans began to fall into place.  Seeing her promise, archivist, Sean Evans has already forewarned her that he will spend the next three years trying to recruit her to the archival profession.

Liv chose to attend NAU for several reasons, some of them practical, some of them financial and some were just a reaction to the beauty of the region.  She knew she would be attending one of the three state institutions, and with NAU’s education program, along with the Lumberjack scholarship, it took just one November visit for her to decide that NAU “was the best in-state environment,” for her.

Liv working

The grant project student intern posting caught her eye because Liv thought she could learn a lot that she could bring with her to the classroom.  She also liked the idea of returning history to the tribes by preserving their old and fragile films, as well as making them available for educational purposes.

When asked what one thing might surprise people about her, Liv pulled out her backpack to reveal an adorable embroidered image from The Little Prince.  

Liv's backpack
The Little Prince embroidery

She’s also embroidered Frog and Toad which was included on the Frog and Toad Instagram account and she was even asked to make another for one of the followers.

Frog and Toad embroidery
Frog and Toad embroidery

Unfortunately, Liv couldn’t break SCA’s “team cat” or “team dog” tie because although she’s had dogs in the past, she really wants a cat (a “nice cat”).  It’s likely that Sean will be trying to recruit her on this matter as well.

Stay tuned for future updates about this grant project and one called Shades of Route 66, generously funded by an Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona grant.  We’ll introduce new student interns and a project archivist. Also coming up in SCA are meetings of the Havasupai Tribal Council (Sept.) and the Hopi Cultural Preservation Council (Oct.).

August 16, 2021
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on SCA to close early on August 17, 2021

SCA to close early on August 17, 2021

It’s been great seeing so many friendly faces in our reading room. We want everyone to be aware that we will close at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, August 17th for a special event. Regular hours of Monday -Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Fridays 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. will return on Wednesday, August 18th.

August 6, 2021
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on An Athlete to Remember

An Athlete to Remember

In the spirit of the summer Olympics and the many runners who have trained here in Flagstaff, we bring you the story that mingles, an ultra-runner before there were ultra-races, America’s Mother Road (Route 66), intrigue, heartbreak, along with some very talented Native American athletes.

It all begins with America’s First Annual Transcontinental Footrace organized by the country’s first sports agent, Charles Pyle in 1928 and dubbed the “Bunion Derby” by the press.  The race began in Los Angeles, California and followed Route 66 through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma, then crossing the Mississippi River and on to Indiana, Ohio, into Pennsylvania and down Route17 to New Jersey, finally reaching the finish line in New York City for a total of approximately 3,400 miles.

For a twenty year old, part-Cherokee Indian runner named Andy Payne, it was the chance to pay off the family farm back in Oklahoma and to make a name for himself.  He turned to the chamber of commerce in his hometown of Claremore, Oklahoma for financial backing and despite skepticism was given a donation of $75.  Andy’s father borrowed additional funds to pay for the entry fee along with money for shoes and a trainer.

On March 4, 1928, with representation from all over the world, 276 runners and walkers gathered at the starting line.  Hopi runner and Arizona native, Nickolas Quomawahu was also hoping to finish.  After the first day 77 runners had dropped out due to injuries and exhaustion.  So many of those who bowed out suffered from callouses and blisters that the race got its nickname of “The Bunion Derby.”  By the time they reached Flagstaff, Quomawahu was left with an ankle injury that ended the race for him.   Only 102 racers left from Flagstaff with Andy Payne continuing despite a case of tonsillitis

Runner #43 (Andy Payne) near Flagstaff Arizona, during C.C. Pyle’s 1928 Trans-Continental Foot Race Highway run along U.S. Route 66. NAU.PH.83.2.58 from the Pulliam Family Collection

Runners continued to drop out as they moved through New Mexico and into Texas.  In his home state of Oklahoma, Andy was greeted to a hero’s welcome by residents and the state’s governor.

Through the remaining states, runners continued to drop out, some of them struck by vehicles or motorcycles.  On the last day of the race only 55 runners remained.  Andy crossed the finish line in first place on May 26, 1928, covering 3,422.3 miles in a little more than 573 hours and earning him the first place prize of $25,000.  Following his win, he was married and settled down in his home state where he served as a clerk to the Supreme Court of Oklahoma and died in 1977.  Every year Oklahoma City holds the Andy Payne Bunion Run, a marathon to honor their home state hero.  A bronze statue of Andy stands along Route 66 in Foyil, Oklahoma, where our Own Sean Evans and his wife took this photograph.

Statue erected in honor of Andy Payne, winner of the so-called “Bunion Derby” footrace across Route 66 and to New York in 1928, Foyil, Oklahoma. NAU.PH.2004.11.4.199, The R. Sean Evans Papers

In 1929, Pyle tried to recreate the race.  This time runners would leave from the East Coast and Arrive in the West.  The race was not financially successful , leaving the winner, John Salo with no prize money.

Books About the Great Bunion Derby

For more interesting facts about the characters that emerged from the Bunion Derby, check out any of the following titles:

C.C. Pyle’s Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America by Geoff Williams,

The Great American Bunion Derby by Molly Levite Griffis

The Great American Foot Race: Ballyhoo for the Bunion Derby by Andrew Speno

The Bunion Derby: The 1928 Footrace Across America by Charles B Kastner

The Bunion Derby, Andy Payne and the Transcontinental Footrace by James Harold Thomas

The 1928 Bunion Derby: a Historical Tour and Driving Guide by Chicago to New York City

Hopi Runners: Crossing the Terrain Between Indian and American by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert with a chapter on Hopi Runner, Nickolas Quomawahu

If you can identify the location of the photo of Andy Payne “near Flagstaff,” please contact SCA. We would love to know more specifically where this photo was taken.

July 22, 2021
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on Three-Year NEH Funded Project Archivist Position Announcement

Three-Year NEH Funded Project Archivist Position Announcement

Tad Nichols Filming in the Redwall Cavern in Marble Canyon.
Photo courtesy of NAU Cline Library
Special Collections and Archives

Cline Library Special Collections and Archives is excited to announce the award of a $350,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This transformative grant will allow Cline Library Special Collections and Archives (SCA) to digitize 400 rare and unique moving images documenting the human and natural history of the Colorado Plateau. The moving images are held by SCA and three regional cultural heritage partners: the Hopi Tribe, the Hualapai Tribe, and Diné College on the Navajo Nation. All together, these moving images offer a glimpse into the collective, complex, and nuanced history of the American Southwest as recorded on film.  The grant provides funding to hire a three-year project archivist, working 32 hours a week, to help support this work.

Position Description:

Title: Project Archivist 

Term: 3 years (fall 2021-summer 2024) 

Start Date: August/September 2021 

End Date: June 30, 2024 

Rate of Pay: $18/hour for 32 hours/week or $2,304 monthly  

Position Overview: 

Special Collections and Archives (SCA) at Cline Library organizes, cares for, and provides public access to unique archival material, including historic documents, photographs, sound recordings, films, and born-digital materials. Reporting to the Archivist for Digital Programs and the Archivist for Discovery, the Project Archivist will be responsible for coordinating the digitization of 400 moving images and developing appropriate descriptive metadata for online access via the Colorado Plateau Digital Collections.  

Special Collections and Archives (SCA) values the diversity of the people it hires and serves. Diversity in SCA means fostering a workplace in which individual differences are recognized, appreciated, respected and responded to in ways that fully develop and utilize each person’s talents and strengths. 

Please note: All applicants for the position will be required to work on-site 32 hours a week during SCA’s normal operating hours (8 AM – 5 PM, M-Th, 8 AM – 4 PM F).

Duties and responsibilities: 

Cline Library Special Collections and Archives (SCA) is embarking on a three year digitization project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to convert analog and magnetic media moving images to digital objects and provide online access to those objects using robust, appropriate, culturally responsive, and accurate descriptive metadata. The Cline Library is partnering with three regional Native American communities to digitized moving images from their collections. Under the supervision and guidance from the Archivist for Digital Programs, Archivist for Discovery, and Head of Special Collections and Archives, the Project Archivist will be responsible for the following activities: 

  • Participate in all training related to the conversion technology and equipment, related software, best practices, and workflows for digitizing analog motion picture film and magnetic media. 
  • Understand and adhere to current national standards for the conversion of analog motion picture film and magnetic media.  
  • Use appropriate technology to convert analog motion picture film (R8/S8mm, 16mm, and 35mm) and magnetic media (VHS, Betacam, Betamax, Umatic, DVCam, Hi-8, and ¾” tapes) to digital files. 
  • Gain familiarity with the operation of archival content management systems such as CONTENTdm and ArchivesSpace.  
  • Work closely with Digital Production Specialist to ensure all workflows are followed precisely, all digital files are examined for quality control standards, and the proper transfer of digital surrogates from a local workstation to the library’s cloud-based storage solution.  
  • Participate in all training related to the production and maintenance of descriptive metadata for discovery via the Colorado Plateau Digital Collections and the integration of digitized material into Encoded Archival Description (EAD) finding aids using ArchivesSpace and oXygen XML Editor.
  • Develop robust and accurate descriptive metadata according to local and national standards (Dublin Core for Moving Images (DCMI), Library of Congress Subject Headings, Visual Resources Association (VRA) Core Categories (for individual records), Art and Architecture Thesaurus, Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS), and Resource Description and Access. 
  • Work closely with Native American colleagues to select, inventory, digitize, develop baseline description, and care for moving images from our tribal partners’ collections. 
  • Become familiar with and apply guidelines based on the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials.  
  • Work closely with tribal partners to identify culturally sensitive content from their collections, as well as culturally sensitive materials from SCA’s holdings Coordinate with appropriate team members and tribal partners to determine appropriate access and use protocols for culturally sensitive materials.   
  • Track and document information to include in reports for the Archivist for Digital Programs, Archivist for Discovery, and the Head of Special Collections and Archives. 
  • Assist Archivist for Digital Programs and Archivist for Discovery in training, supervising, and providing timely feedback for NEH project student assistant.

Qualifications and Requirements: 

  • Master’s degree from an ALA-accredited library or information science program with a concentration in archival studies, or other relevant degree, such as master’s degree in visual communications, public history, etc.
  • Or; a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field (History, Applied Indigenous Studies, Native American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Comparative Cultural Studies, Communication Studies, Journalism, Creative Media or Film, Photography, or similar fields) with 1-2 years experience working in a cultural heritage institution.

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Familiarity with archival and bibliographic descriptive standards, such as Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS), Encoded Archival Description (EAD), Resource Description and Access (RDA), and Dublin Core Metadata Schema (DCMI). 
  • Experience digitizing analog motion picture film and magnetic media moving image materials. 
  • Familiarity with audio and video moving image material in an archival context  Experience with technology and software associated with the conversion of moving images. 
  • Experience developing appropriate, accurate, and robust descriptive metadata for archival material.
  • Familiarity with the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials
  • Knowledge of the human and natural history of the Colorado Plateau. 
  • Knowledge of filmmaking production practices or other relevant subject expertise. 
  • Familiarity with CONTENTdm, ArchivesSpace, or similar archival content management systems. 
  • Excellent research, writing, and communication skills (both written and verbal). 
  • Detail-oriented and ability to be flexible.
  • Strong organizational skills with demonstrated initiative to complete projects within deadlines. 

Application Deadline: 

The position of Project Archivist will remain open until filled. Review of applications will begin on August 26, 2021. 

To apply, please submit the following documents to: 

  • Letter of application addressing your qualifications for the position 
  • A resume or CV which details relevant coursework, work experience, etc. 
  • Name(s) and contact information for three professional references 
  • Copy of current transcript (optional) 

Submit all application materials to Peter.Runge@nau.edu.

Background Information 

Northern Arizona University requires satisfactory results for the following:  a criminal background investigation, an employment history verification and a degree verification (in some cases) prior to employment.  You may also be required to complete a fingerprint background check. 

Additionally, as an employer in the state of Arizona, NAU is required to participate in the federal E-Verify program that assists employers with verifying new employees’ right to work in the United States. 

Finally, each year Northern Arizona University releases an Annual Security Report. The report is a result of a federal law known as the Clery Act. The report includes Clery reportable crime statistics for the three most recent completed calendar years and discloses procedures, practices and programs NAU uses to keep students and employees safe including how to report crimes or other emergencies occurring on campus. In addition, the Fire Safety Report is combined with the Annual Security Report for the NAU Flagstaff Mountain Campus and NAU-Fort Defiance as these campuses have on-campus student housing. This report discloses fire safety policies and procedures related to on-campus student housing and statistics for fires that occurred in those facilities.  

If you would like a free paper copy of the report, please contact the NAUPD Records Department at (928) 523-8884 or by visiting the department at 525 E. Pine Knoll Drive in Flagstaff. 


NAU is a tobacco and smoke-free campus. 

Employees offered a position will be eligible for state health plans (including NAU’s BCBS Plan).  New employees are eligible for benefits on the first day of the pay period following their enrollment, after their employment date.  Employees will have 31 days from their start date to enroll in benefits. If a new employee chooses the ASRS retirement option, participation in the Arizona State Retirement System, and the long-term disability coverage that accompanies it, will begin on the first of the pay period following 6 months after the new employee’s start date. New employees who choose to participate in the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP), which is an alternative to the ASRS plan for faculty and other appointed staff, will begin to participate on the first day of employment.  Additionally, the long-term disability plan that accompanies the ORP will begin on the first day of employment.  More information is available at the NAU HR benefits page. 

Equal Employment Opportunity 

Northern Arizona University is a committed Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution. Women, minorities, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. NAU is responsive to the needs of dual career couples. EEO Law Poster. NAU is an Employer of National Service. AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and other National Service alumni are encouraged to apply. 

May 20, 2021
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on Great news from the archives!

Great news from the archives!

In Special Collections and Archives we’re excited to share some good news. We’ve lowered our prices for high resolution digital image files and we’ve added a shopping cart feature to make it easier for you to order. Here’s what that means for you. When browsing historic images located in our Digital Collections, if something catches your eye, just add it to your shopping cart. When you’re done browsing, complete your purchase through our online payment system and within 3 business days this could be hanging on your wall:

[Side Canyon] Tad Nichols Collection, NAU.PH.
Photo courtesy: Tad Nichols, 1956

We have thousands of images to choose from and something for everyone, like this hogan and shade house in Canyon De Chelley, Arizona.

Canyon De Chelley, AZ . The Edward J. Dawson Collection,
NAU.PH.2006.41.3.3. Photo courtesy Edward J. Dawson.

Or this 1924 image of Old Main.

[Old Main and Ashurst Auditorium in the snow.] Northern Arizona University Archives. NAU.ARC.1924.2.2 Photographer unknown.

We even have photos of early “van life.” In the days before Instagram, this camper van was equipped with a dark room for photo processing while roving.

[Parker Hamilton in his camper van], The Parker and Hildegard Hamilton Collection. NAU.PH.2003.
Photo Courtesy: Hildegard Hamilton circa 1970

Or finally, for National Bike Month, how about this image of the Coconino Cycle Club circa 1900.

Coconino Cycle Club in front of the Arizona Lumber and Timber Company Commissary. AHS.0025.00017. Photographer unknown.

For more information, visit our Ordering from the Archives page. The options are endless, so take a look at our Digital Collections and see what you can find.

March 12, 2021
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on President Eugene Hughes, 1934-2021

President Eugene Hughes, 1934-2021

President Eugene Hughes
Photo courtesy: University Archives

It is with a heavy heart that we share the sad news of Dr. Eugene Hughes passing on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. Dr. Hughes was Northern Arizona University’s 12th president, and served in that capacity from July 1, 1979 – June 30, 1993.

Born in Nebraska in 1934, Eugene Morgan Hughes experienced the hardships associated with the Great Depression. Hughes spent childhood summers working the family farm with his grandfather. He graduated from high school in 1951 and then majored in mathematics and science at Scottsbluff Junior College. Hughes earned his B.S. in mathematics, graduating magna cum laude, from Chadron State Teachers College and his M.S. in 1958 from Kansas State College of agriculture and applied science.

Hughes joined the faculty of Chadron College as a math instructor and soon became an assistant professor and department head. A few years later, he accepted a position as assistant to Chadron’s president. In 1962, Hughes decided to pursue a doctorate at George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, receiving his degree in 1968. Hughes then returned to Chadron, became a National Science Foundation Fellow, and served on the staff of the board of trustees for Nebraska State Colleges.

President Walkup’s cabinet during his tenure. Future President Hughes is the third person from the right, standing behind President Walkup. Photo courtesy: Peter Runge

A meeting with NAU President J. Lawrence Walkup at a conference in Chicago led to a position in 1970 for Hughes in Flagstaff as dean of arts and sciences. Promotions followed, first to academic vice president in 1977 and president two years later. As president, Hughes continued Walkup’s campus development efforts, enhanced the health profession programs, and restructured the administration. He emphasized the importance of excellence in all that NAU faculty, staff, and students undertook. The 1980’s economic recession forced Hughes to make some difficult budget decisions, but the university remained strong. In 1993, Hughes left NAU to become president of Wichita State University in Kansas.

Newly Named President Hughes Reading a Copy of the Arizona Daily Sun Announcing Him as the 12th President of NAU. Photo courtesy: NAU University Archives.

As president, he helped establish NAU’s Center for Excellence in Education (CEE), engaging faculty, educators, politicians, and policymakers in conceptualizing the education of school professionals focusing on student-centeredness. As a part of the CEE, he implemented an Honorary Doctorate award to the Arizona Teacher of the Year. He also helped establish field sites on the campuses of Arizona’s community colleges, including NAU-Yuma at Arizona Western College.

As President Lawrence Walkup’s successor, he continued Walkup’s campus development efforts. Gene added more than 20 new buildings to campus, including two dormitories, and the state-of-the-art pool facility, the Natatorium (now the Wall Aquatic Center). He enhanced the health profession programs and restructured the administration. He emphasized excellence among NAU faculty, staff, and students.

One of the more visible contributions from President Hughes tenure is the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM). The Hughes School of Hotel Restaurant Management is situated in the middle of campus and addressed a long overdue need to support and connect NAU to the tourist industry of northern Arizona and the greater Southwest. The Hughes School of Hotel and Restaurant Management is one the leading programs in the country and an academic department that distinguishes NAU from ASU and UA.

President and Margaret Ann Hughes in the Presidents’ Room in the Cline Library Special Collections and Archives. Photo courtesy: Peter Runge

Following his tenure at Wichita State University, Dr. Hughes returned to Flagstaff, where he remained active in the community and connected to NAU. Dr. Hughes’ emeritus office was in Old Main. When he was in the office, his door was always open and he was quick to greet you with a smile and a handshake.

Dr. Hughes will be dearly missed by the NAU and Flagstaff communities, but his legacy will live on through his visionary leadership and selfless service to NAU and beyond.

To learn more about President Hughes’ tenure at NAU, please visit the following resources available at the Cline Library Special Collections and Archives:

Finding aid for the presidential records of Dr. Eugene Hughes

Oral histories with President Hughes

Selections from the digital archives of Presidents Hughes

March 4, 2021
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on Katie Lee Inducted into the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame!

Katie Lee Inducted into the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame!

Portrait of Katie Lee
Photo Courtesy: ML Lincoln

Special Collections and Archives is proud to announce that Katie Lee was just selected as a member of the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame. As many of you know, Katie passed away on November 1, 2017 at the age of 98. During her life, Katie was passionate about many things but the preservation of the Colorado River and Glen Canyon were closest to heart. Floating on the Colorado River through Glen Canyon was where and how Katie decompressed from the noise of life, reconnected with the Earth, and found a quiet peacefulness.

The timing of this award is perfect, as the department’s current exhibit, Full Circle: the Life and Legacies of Katie Lee, celebrates Katie’s many accomplishments and work to preserve the beauty of the Southwest. Katie Lee was many things…she was an actress, writer, musician, environmental activist, world traveler, cowgirl poet, world-class cusser, and an inspiration to anyone who knew her or has been exposed to her. To give you a better sense of who Katie was and how she continues to inspire and influence us, I would like to share a few excerpts from her nomination to give you a sense of her contributions to the state of Arizona and beyond.

Although Katie Lee was born in Illinois, her family moved to Tucson, Arizona, when she was still an infant. Katie was raised in Tucson and considered Arizona her home throughout her life. Katie lived 76 of her 98 years in Arizona. Katie frequently spoke fondly of her formative years in Tucson and the impact of tramping around and hiking in the Sabino Canyon area had on the rest of her life. Following Katie’s graduation from high school in 1937, she attended and graduated from the University of Arizona in 1943 with a bachelor’s degree of fine arts in drama. She left Arizona in 1948 to pursue careers in acting and folk singing, but frequently returned during the summers to enjoy the Colorado River, Grand Canyon, and most importantly, Glen Canyon.

Katie Lee in Labyrinth Canyon, Glen Canyon.
Photo courtesy: Tad Nichols Collection

Katie considered Glen Canyon and the Colorado River to be her lifeblood, a place where she would re-energize herself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. She, along with Tad Nichols and Frank Wright, would float leisurely down the river, exploring the inner canyons and tributaries. Katie wrote several songs and books about these experiences. When the United States Bureau of Reclamation announced its plans to dam the Colorado River and flood Glen Canyon, Katie refocused her passion and energy toward protecting and preserving Glen Canyon and the Colorado River. Katie, Edward Abbey, Martin Litton, and David Brower fought for several years to prevent Glen Canyon from being dammed and flooded. Ultimately, they were not successful and all four of them considered the damming of Glen Canyon to be their greatest failure. Katie never stopped advocating for the protection of rivers, canyons, and wild spaces. She spent the next 51 years using her music, writing, and influence to raise awareness of the preservation of natural places. The loss of Glen Canyon served as a painful example of how something so fragile and beautiful could be destroyed in the name of progress. In her later years, Katie encouraged people to fight for the things and places they love.

Katie Lee and Frank Wright, Glen Canyon. Photo courtesy: Tad Nichols Collection

During her life, Katie was recognized for numerous achievements. In the 1940s and early 1950s, she was an actress in popular movies; in the 1950s and 1960s, she transitioned to becoming a folk singer/song-writer and river runner; and in the 1970s until the end of her life she was an author of non-fiction and fiction. Ultimately, Katie is remembered more for a failure than a success. Katie, along with others, fought to prevent Glen Canyon Dam from being built and flooding the Edenesque Glen Canyon. Katie and her like-minded friends were not successful. The dam was built and Glen Canyon was submerged. Her triumph is how she responded to this failure. Others may have walked away from this loss wounded and defeated. The loss of Glen Canyon strengthened Katie’s resolve to fight against federal and commercial interests over the preservation of natural places. From 1962 until her death, Katie fought like a warrior with her words and music to inspire people to prevent additional injustices from occurring, and she never stopped fighting to have the Glen Canyon Dam eradicated. Katie’s passion and plucked served as an inspiration to others, especially women, to battle and advocate for nature’s beauty. This is particularly true of Arizona’s unique natural beauty, which continues to be under attack by commercial and political entities.

Even after her passing, Katie continues to inspire a new generation of environmental activists with her archival legacy. Her archives are housed at the Cline Library on the campus of Northern Arizona University, not far the areas she loved most – Jerome, her adopted home, and the Colorado River, the river that ran through her. Her archival legacy serves as a memory of a place long ago buried, never to be seen again as it was, and a sobering reminder to protect and fight for those places.

Katie Lee in Studio with Ray Martin.
Photo Courtesy: Chuck Stewart

In the short time that Katie’s collection has been at NAU, it has inspired numerous students and community members to use it for academic and creative purposes. For example, Katie’s collection was used by several young women in the Grand Canyon Semester course as a cornerstone for their final projects; beyond NAU, a young, female singer/song-writer, Jessica Larrabee, wrote and sang a song that was inspired by Katie Lee titled “Coyote;” a graduate student from the University of Wyoming used Katie’s music in his thesis documentary film about the environmental impact of Glen Canyon Dam; and documentary film maker, Tyler Graham, was inspired by Katie to kayak the length of “Glen Canyon” in 2018 to raise awareness of the loss of the Glen Canyon. These are just a few examples of how Katie’s legacy of environmental activism continues to inspire a new generation to preserve the natural beauty of Arizona.  

Jessica Larrabee of She Keeps Bees, Singer and Song Writer
Photo Courtesy: BB Island

Near the end of her life, Katie would frequently rhetorically ask, “Why are people interested in what I have to say?” The reason was aptly put by another environmental activist and writer, Craig Childs, “Katie Lee speaks for the canyons and the sweet desert recesses. She is our foul-mouthed, lightning-eyed, boot-stomping balladeer, a character Louis L’Amour never could have invented. Born from the rock itself, she is a lifetime of experience on this wild, restless, cradling ground. If you want to know this place, you need to know Katie.” Katie’s life and achievements are very much a part of this “wild, restless, cradling ground” and the cultural, historical, and natural landscape of Arizona.

Glen Canyon, Aztec Creek, 1964.
Photo Courtesy: PT Reilly Collection

Katie Lee lived a life passionately, fully and with purpose. Regardless of the area of her life she was involved with, she did so with verve and zest. Today too many people are willing to compromise to achieve a fraction of their goal; Katie approached environmental activism as a personal crusade with total commitment and without compromise. Katie Lee embodied many of the qualities and characteristics that Arizonans embody, she was strong, fierce, intelligent, creative, hard-scrabbled, and resourceful.

August 14, 2020
by special collections & archives
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August 14th Is National Code Talkers Day

Navajo Marine Code Talkers Training at Camp Pendleton, CA

Today, August 14th, is National Code Talkers Day. There are only four living code talkers remaining. These brave men played a vital role in the Pacific Theater during World War II. For those who may not be aware of the code talkers or the code talker program, Philip Johnston, the son of an early 19th century Navajo missionary and a World War I veteran, proposed using the Navajo language as a code for the United States Marine Corps. At the time, the Navajo language was an unwritten language and so unique that it would be difficult for non-speakers to decipher meaning from phrases spoken in Navajo.

Philip Johnston during World War II

The United States Marine Corps accepted the concept and began recruiting young Navajo men to serve as code talkers. Philip Johnston, enlisted in the Marine Corps at the age 50 to help recruit Navajo men to serve as code talkers. The first group of 29 Navajo Code Talkers was trained at Camp Pendleton, CA, where the initial code was developed. The Navajo code talkers program was very successful and allowed messages to be transmitted, received, and translated much faster than previous codes.

Cover Page of
Cover Page of Proposed Plan for Recruiting Indian Signal Corps Personnel, which became the Navajo Code Talker Program

The Cline Library Special Collections and Archives is honored to house the Philip Johnston Papers. The papers document the development, proposal, and evolution of the Navajo Code Talker Program, including several lexicons outlining the code. The code was never “cracked” or successfully deciphered by the Japanese or Axis Powers.

The program was so successful that the Marine Corps used other Indigenous languages to develop codes, such as the Cherokee, Choctaw, Comanche, Cree, Mohawk, and Basque.

The finding aid for the Philip Johnston Papers can be found on Arizona Archives Online or by clicking here. To see digitized selections from the Philip Johnston Papers on the Cline Library’s digital archives, click here. To view all digitized content pertaining to the Navajo Code Talkers, click here.